Hi makers, Yessy here! I am the designer and maker behind Yessy's Designs and I'm honored to be an OML guest blogger! Family. Let's talk about it, particularly the importance of having and building a supportive family in our lives and what a difference it has in our maker journey.
How is it that a mom who makes can do it all at home? How does she take care and spend quality time with her cuties and husband, keep her house clean and organized, and still finds time for cozy? How is she a maker that doesn't just sit down to knit, crochet or to work on the craft of her choosing, but one who designs, thoughtfully chooses the materials, and through trial and error, brings design vision to reality? One who, on top of that, runs her online shop and promotes through social media? One who invests in self-care by reading a book, going for a walk, rediscovering her own childlike innocence while playing with her kids or just enjoying quality down time?
The answer is by the support of family.
Here's a bit of my experience and I hope that it encourages you in seeking and discovering your own maker life with family life balance.
Once, I received a message where someone wrote that I have all the time in the world to knit, because I am a stay at home mom. (If you are a mom, I can just imagine your expression.) It would be a long list to write down all of what moms do at home when you have one, two, or three or more kids, if they head out to school or are home-schooled, all of which requires lots of work! Or in my case where we also regularly volunteer and keep our spiritual routine as a number one life priority. It takes a lot of work, whether you are a SAHM or a mom who also works outside of the home.
Yes, we as moms, can certainly do it all - by prioritizing, using our time wisely, making the right sacrifices, being well-organized (a to-do list is a must for me), knowing when to ask for help, knowing when to delegate, and by enjoying our roles.
Here's two key things to keep in mind to live your best maker life alongside your best family life:
Definitely get family involved
I feel blessed by a loving family... My husband and I sit down often to talk about ways to make our family life better so that we and our two cuties have the best environment possible. Why take time to talk about this? Because we all know how the daily routine can sap our time and leave us exhausted by a day's end. By talking about this, we have our goals in mind and lists of importance throughout the day.
I usually try and knit at night after my cuties go to bed, though I am not a night owl. I do not go to bed late, which means just at night, in reality, not much knitting gets done. So, during my morning routine at home, I include craft time. My youngest and I often work together on a craft and then, with the remaining materials, she has her own time to be creative. During this time, I try to knit a few more rows or plan at least two weeks of social media-related tasks like how I want to show my current projects, captions, photography, best times to post and how to include my family in my work.
Every time you see one of my posts, you can be sure that at least one member of my family was involved. They help me with staging, bringing props, bringing me their cookies or toys (the toys don't usually make the cut), by choosing the yarn from my studio (oh yes, my hubby surprised me last year with my very own studio!), and even by modeling my pieces. Even when I model them myself, my hubby takes the pictures, which means that he had to learn a few camera and photography tips (he read the entire manual without me asking.) My cuties also proofread my captions and offer their own ideas for what to say.
The process takes quite a bit of time, but I find it so worth it. My children see their mom and dad working together, they see how mommy feels while working on a piece and they feel apart of Yessy's Designs. Especially when helping pack orders, taking them to the post office and telling the clerk what is inside, who it is for and where it is shipping. Those moments where I see them so excited help me realize that, yes, it takes time to finish a piece but the end result is just full of love.
I would not enjoy my maker life, if I did not see my family enjoying it as well, and if they were not such a key part to it. Sometimes I ask my cuties to work on art, to build something with their Lego toys, or to practice playing their instruments while I knit, and often times they think of what does my studio need. I have so many pictures they have made of my yarn with the color names from the tags (so I don't forget to add them onto a piece), papers and papers with hats they've designed, logos, even ideas for commercials (because in their eyes it looks like one day there will be a Yessy's Designs TV commercial!) How it melts my heart every time they see me knitting something new and they ask Are you making that because you want to or because someone loved it and wants it too? Or when they ask How did you do that with the needles?? and sit down next to me to watch and sometimes to try.
Avoid mentally draining maker comparison
Not to mention that maker comparison is a waste of time. Why? Because no one has exactly the same circumstance and only you can, and should, enjoy your maker time in whatever way you like! This is your time and your journey, and what you are working on is made from your unique love for handmade. You will be the one who chooses what to share and what to show from your work on social media. Do not let social media indicate what you should be working on, instead let it inspire you. Work on what you love. Being a maker requires time that you have to buy out from other things, so make that time count.
So that's my two maker cents and I hope it resonates with and for you, and for your family as well. I might not personally be the maker who has several projects happening at once, or many that are even finished weekly, but like so many others, I am a maker patiently and diligently running my business alongside a loving supportive family.
Family is key to my life, and life is comprised of the most beautiful moments. Again, make them count. Life is not perfect, and yes, problems arise too often, and when we least expect them. So aim to build a good supportive system around you and the load will be lighter to carry. When things become overwhelming or when you maker life does not go as expected, take your time to make the needed adjustments, without comparing yourself to others, and keep seeking your joy. Being business-minded means we can be filled with creativity and active energy, but try not to be too anxious where you lose focus on the most important things.
Because being a maker does not always mean, and never has to always be, a solo work task, rather, it can mirror the beauty of your family. Being a maker brings the love of your dear ones to the table as well, yarn (and maybe a Lego or two) close by.